How To Care For Your Sweaters

During this chilly weather, sweaters tend to be a go-to. Here's the best way I've found to keep them looking fresh:


1.Check the label. Unless it says "dry clean only," the last word being key, you can wash it safely at home. While most things will say dry clean or hand wash, it is mostly to protect the brand. To be honest, everything I own goes into the machine with the exception of coats and beaded pieces.


2.Wash According to fabric type.  


: Acrylics are man-made fibers that can stretch when subjected to heat. Wash as directed on the label - usually in warm water. Then either lay flat to dry or tumble dry on low.·        


: Angora is a blend of rabbit hair and synthetic fibers. It's very prone to shrinking so this is one you should consider dry cleaning. If the label says it can't be washed, don't put it in the machine. Instead, hand-wash and lay flat to dry.·        


: Cashmere is usually goat hair blended with wool or synthetic fibers. Follow the label instructions as they're usually pretty accurate. Generally, cashmere can be washed on the delicate cycle in cold water.


: If you want chenille to stay soft, don't put it in the washing machine - even if the label says it's OK. The rubbing caused by the machine's agitation damages and breaks the fragile fibers, causing them to and snag, pill, or feel rough. Instead, wash chenille inside out by hand. ·        


: Unlike sturdier garments, these cotton pieces are best washed in cold water, not warm. Use your machine's gentle cycle to prevent any fiber breakage.·        


Some wool can be washed; others can't take the heat (or even the cold water). Start by checking the label. If it is OK to put in the washing machine, use the gentlest cycle on your machine, choosing cold for the wash-water temperature.  


3. Embrace modern technology.

If you have a newer-model washing machine with a "wool" or "hand-wash" cycle, it's perfectly fine to toss in any cotton sweaters or wool or cashmere knits that don't have embroidery or sequins. Most modern machines are almost as gentle as swishing clothes around with your hand is. Wash only like colors together to prevent fading! 



4.Stop before the spin cycle.


5.Use a towel to roll out excess water (don't ring) and lay flat to dry. Even though some sweaters do say you can tumble dry, it's usually better for the garment to air dry. Avoid rubbing. You can reshape the sweater by hand after rolling if needed.Pull together the waist and wrists, button cardigans closed, roll collars into position, and straighten the sleeves. Drying time can take between 12-72 hours depending on the sweater-and you should never store a sweater wet.  


6.Maintain appearances. After the sweater is dry, remove pills with a sweater stone, electric shaver, or D-Fuzz It. My personal preference is the D-Fuzz It, you don't have to worry so much about pressing too hard, or a thread getting accidentally caught in the electric shaver causing a hole. If you do end up with a hole in your sweater a tailor at your local dry cleaner is usually able to repair it easily.  


Other tips and tricks to keep Bill Cosby proud:

Take it to hand.If your machine doesn't have the right cycle, wash by hand. Fill a clean sink or bucket with cool water, add a couple of squirts of gentle cleanser, mix, and then add your sweaters. Do not use too much detergent or you will have a very difficult time getting out all of the suds. You can wash as many as will fit in the bucket, as long as they are similar colors. After 30 minutes, rinse under the tap until the water runs clear, then press-never wring-out the excess.Use the lowest temperature setting possible when machine washing.



Turn sweaters wrong side out when washing to reduce pilling and to protect the outer layer.


If a sweater has lost its shape, you can repair it. Soak the sweater. Then pad the areas you'd like reshaped.


Use mesh laundry bags (one sweater per bag). Mesh bags contain and protect sweaters and are easy to fish out of the washer. Less abrasion from other garments will reduce pilling.


Sweaters hold up best if they are put away folded. However, if you are like me and have more closet than dresser space, here is the best way I've found to hang sweaters to prevent stretching out the length or sleeves.



This works best when using a flat surface. Fold the bottom of the sweater up so that it is shorter than the hanger. Criss cross sleeves. Then hang lengthwise. You now have a great way to hang sweaters without stretching out the length, sleeves, or getting hanger bumps on your shoulders!   


New Spring sweater pictured-$62, size XS-L available.


If all else fails you can always make mittens :) 




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